Flutterby™! : The future of tolling

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The future of tolling

2011-02-02 16:04:24.538444+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

Golden Gate Bridge tolls to go all electronic:

Those who don't use FasTrak will have their license plate numbers recorded by cameras that are already installed at the tolls, and a bill will be sent to the address of the car's registered owner.

[ related topics: Photography Bay Area moron Automobiles ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-03 20:14:38.264661+00 by: meuon

The flash is for a single frame closeup and the psychology of everyone seeing the flash. They are rolling video that is usually good enough to read a plate from. I know..I've had one of those tickets and was impressed when I watched the video and the stills at the quality.

Ya'll went electronic LCD shutter.. when I remember the original James Bond car had a license plate flipper. Of course, it's be hard to not get caught with that than an apparently clear license plate holder. If instead of shutter, it displayed a regional Judge's license plate number...

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-03 20:12:36.501317+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think a long flash is on the order of a thousandth of a second, maybe as long as an 800th (If I remember right from my days hacking flashes with resistors, most of the articles I read on 'em were about high speed photography and durations in the 1/25,000th of a second range). LCDs are relatively slow (witness being able to watch 'em fade from digit to digit on a watch, or how long it took for LCD monitors to become acceptable for gaming), they'd probably top out at around a hundredth of a second.

So: No.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-03 19:22:14.837852+00 by: Mars Saxman

I wonder if it would be possible to switch an LCD quickly enough to automatically obscure the license plate upon detection of a flash?

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-03 19:20:52.989627+00 by: Mars Saxman

That is an excellent idea.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-03 08:41:16.897031+00 by: andylyke

I've been thinking about a license plate frame with an LCD membrane over the plate. When you enter a camera equipped intersection late on the G-Y-R cycle, you press a button and the plate is obscured. Perhaps it would have dual uses.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-03 06:27:52.8442+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

One is ExpressToll and the other is Northwest Parkway, llc..

And try to make sense of what it means to drive a rental car through one of these.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-02 21:05:12.208039+00 by: Dan Lyke

Do either of you have names for the companies that run these? This may be important to me.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-02 21:00:49.332639+00 by: ebradway

We've had this for about a year on the toll road to the airport (E-470). Coming from Boulder, there are actually two separate companies operating it, so you receive two different bills. One company adds a 65 cent surcharge to each bill. The other doesn't. They also do not include prior bills on each statement. So if you go to the airport four times over two weeks, you'll get eight bills. Each one has to be paid separately via mail or their website (entering a credit card number each time).

The mechanism they use for billing is actually the same one they used for fining people who skipped the tolls. So the minute you are late with one of those bills, they send a nasty notice with an $85 charge per late toll.

So, if you go to the airport four times over two weeks and assume the last bill included all of the previous bills, you'll get seven more bills later for several hundred dollars a piece.

Handing someone a buck as you drive past is much less of a hassle.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-02 18:40:06.929569+00 by: Mars Saxman

They're going to do the same thing with the 520 bridge here in Seattle.

I predict that this will accelerate the Microsoft->Google brain drain, as it will increase the perceptual distance between Seattle and the Eastside. Driving across the lake already sucks mightily; having to pay for the privilege of daily suck is hard to imagine.

My wife works in Kirkland, and is thinking about taking a longer route to work across the I-90 bridge just so she doesn't have to deal with tolls.